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Unknown Finds Self On Top of Chart

February 22nd, 2011

It was a good news / bad news situation this weekend as a number of films missed expectations. However, the overall box office was still enough for 2011 to secure its first win, topping last year's box office $145 million to $134 million. Granted, this is not exactly a fair comparison, as it was President's Day long weekend this year and it wasn't last year, but when you've had a 14-week losing streak, you will take any win that you can. Year-to-date, 2011 is still behind 2010's pace by nearly $400 million at $1.39 billion to $1.78 billion and there's little you can do to spin that into a positive.

Unknown proved Liam Neeson is one hell of an action star, even at 58 years old. The film rode better than average reviews and weaker than expected competition to a first place finish with $21.86 million / $24.45 million. It was a very close race, however, especially on the four-day chart.

I Am Number Four proved yet again that trying to create a franchise is a very, very tricky thing to do. Reviews were not helping the situation, but an opening of $19.45 million / $22.46 million was lower than expected and likely not enough for Disney to turn the next book into a movie. Not unless it is a surprisingly strong performer internationally and / or on the home market.

Gnomeo and Juliet had the kind of legs most films would kill for, down just 25% over the three-day portion of the weekend, which was enough for third place. Add in Monday and it made $25.42 million, which was less than $40,000 away from first place. Overall it has $55.84 million, which is already more than original expectations, while it leaves $100 million as a possibility.

Just Go With It wasn't quite as strong as Thursday's predictions with $18.48 million over three days, $21.58 million including Monday, and $64.14 million in total. A final domestic box office of $100 million is not out of the question, but it certainly won't be easy either.

Big Momma's: Like Father Like Son placed fifth with $16.30 million / $18.74 million and with reviews that are still mired in single-digit territory, I don't think things will get better as the weeks come and go. It's per theater average isn't bad, but that's pretty faint praise.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find Justin Bieber: Never Say Never in sixth place with $13.31 million / $16.36 million. Over the 3-day portion of the weekend, the film was down nearly 55%, but its total of $51.24 million is still likely more than it cost to make and advertise. The same can not be said of The Eagle at $3.65 million / $4.33 million over the weekend and $15.84 million in total. Theater owners will be looking to dump this film ASAP. Only relatively weak competition this coming weekend might save it from that fate.

As previously stated, Black Swan became the 28th film released in 2010 to reach the $100 million milestone, while as expected, The King's Speech became the 29th over the weekend. They will probably be its last milestone, unless the Oscar bounce is really big this year.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Gnomeo and Juliet, The Eagle, Black Swan, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, I am Number Four, Just Go With It, The King’s Speech, Unknown, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never